I always liked Disney for their system being free. I despise the idea of pay to play that puts those unwilling to pay at a disadvantage. Ticket prices are exorbinant enough.
I didn’t have any issues with fastpass+ pre-covid, but now that everything has reset and I think about it…I spent way too much time on my phone looking for the next fast pass instead of enjoying the queues (and sometimes even the rides…looking at you Small World and your boat backup at the end of the ride leading to 5 minutes of downtime).
So I would prefer a modified maxpass. Modified being that Disney resort guests maybe get one guaranteed headliner a day that they can select the night before and pick a large time window (i.e. Morning: 9am - 12pm / afternoon 12-3pm / evening 3-6 pm / night time 6-9pm) for usage and the resort guests would still get the regular maxpass system access too.
If Disney wants to do a reset, now is the time…now is the best time.
Disney’s is still pay to play, sort of. On site guests pay an premium to stay on site to gain access to FPP at 60+ days. By the time off-site guests hit their window, very few FPs are available that offer any significant benefit…or if they do, at times that are least ideal. This gives a definite advantage to those who are essentially paying for them. But the trouble is that Disney gives away SO many FPs this way, it makes the standby lines way slower…so in effect, everyone is required to use FP, or else the system actually handicaps guests, not helps them.
This is why I favor a system that severely limits the number of FPs so that the impact on the average guest is minimal. The only way to do that, however, is to charge a lot for them. Which benefits not only the average guest by no longer handicapping them, but also benefits Disney because it increases their revenue.
Or limit the amount any one person can have.
Another reason I don’t like the idea of FPs benefiting on-site guests the way that it does is the ultimate unfairness of it. Partly what I mentioned before, but also for other reasons.
While an on-site guest might get first-dibs on FPs, which could be seen as a reason to stay on-site, it also locks them in to their days and trip more. Disney uses it as a way to keep people from changing their plans. Because after that 60 day mark, if you alter your plans, you lose the FPs you have and are left getting scraps…even though the price for your hotel stay never changed. Suddenly the value-add of those FPs for an on-site stay dropped significantly.
And furthermore, if you decide to alter your park plans less than 30 days out, the advantage of the FP is effectively lost, since now offsite guests have gotten the scraps from the on-site guests as well, leaving those on-site guests who wish to alter their plans even MORE loss of value.
Regardless of any of it, the truth is, every person who is coming into the parks (APs aside) are effectively paying the same amount. Sure, some people find tickets at a slight discount…but generally speaking, everyone is paying a large sum of money to be inside the parks. This means that everyone who is paying the same amount should have equal opportunity. Guests shouldn’t effectively be penalized because some guests choose to stay onsite. The price people are paying is the same in terms of park access. The benefits to staying onsite should be benefits that don’t impede on others.
So, related to that, on-site guest benefits should be things like, say, free parking, or easy access to on-site transportation, or “being in the bubble”, or any other slew of benefits Disney could come up with which do NOT impede on other guests time in the park. Yet, the reason Disney has historically given FPs at the 60+ days for on-site guests is NOT to benefit the on-site guests, but to get people to pay more to stay on site. But it is at the expense of others.
This is why I also don’t like the Express Pass system at Universal. I think the Express Pass system, if it was purely pay-to-play (at a high premium) would be okay as long as it is severely limited. But the reason they “give it away” to hotel guests is purely to get MORE guests to pay for their more expensive hotels. Those same guests are unlikely to buy Express Pass otherwise…and if the hotel didn’t offer the Express Pass, those guests would be more inclined to say off site or at a cheaper on-site hotel.
Ultimately, who do these systems benefit? As a whole…the parks, pure and simple. And the benefits that it affords certain guests is on the backs of all the other guests who are also paying high ticket prices to get in.
I guess I’m not surprised of the results so far of Poll #1. The way Liners have been taught to take full advantage of the system is a definite bonus over standby only. Even those people that say it all evens out, I say to you, a great Touring Plan in addition to the FP system can give you an edge.
Booking those headliners during peak crowd time is also something to get excited about, that shorter wait would never happen with standby only. And let’s face it, we all love the challenge of snagging the FP drops. It’s like hitting the Pixie Dust lottery!
I do feel for those families who either aren’t as prepared or don’t know how to get the most out of the FPP system. They are essentially waiting in long lines for the benefit of us planners. Is that selfish of us? Well, we also use loopholes/hacks on other things in life so I guess if you put in the work you’re rewarded. But I think we can all agree that we have heard of people who did not have an enjoyable trip to WDW, and so often the waiting in long lines is a big reason.
A couple of years ago, I wrote up this explanation of how a Fastpass / virtual queue system could be a net benefit to guests:
Assume a World with only two rides - a high capacity 1-hour show (assume continuous operation for simplicity) and a headliner ride with a 1-hour SB wait, and each visitor only had one hour at the park (staggered arrival):
- In a World with no FPP, most visitors get in line for the headliner and forgo the show
- In a World with FPP, everyone watches the show and uses their FPP for the ride
In conclusion, FPP in this scenario spreads out the crowds to experience attractions they may not ordinarily experience, and manages the arrival time of the visitors to the headliner so that no one has to wait more than a few minutes.
In reality, it’s obviously more complicated than that. But this is the theory that would make FPP a net benefit to park goers. The high-capacity attraction becomes a more value-added queuing area.
In short: if you have something else for guests to do instead of wait in that line, and guests take you up on that alternative, there’s no reason for Fastpass to have a negative effect on standby lines.
The “alternative” could be a high-capacity theater show (Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular), a fast-loading, high capacity ride (Haunted Mansion), or even dining, shopping, or simply an air conditioned place to sit and wait until your FP time returns.
This is why Tapu Tapu works at Volcano Bay. VB has a giant wave pool that essentially never reaches capacity. It also has two lazy rivers that anyone can hop into or out of at any time. People are fine waiting 180 minutes for their Tapu Tapu for Krakatau because they are having a grand time catching waves or floating leisurely in the lazy river.
So I would be totally supportive of Disney returning some sort of Fastpass or virtual queuing system, but they need to work out some kinks - make it more guest-focused, less cutthroat, and make sure guests who are waiting for their Fastpass return times have something they can do without resorting to hopping in another long line in direct sunlight.
I’m not familiar with any other system, so I voted mainly to keep it as it was. I can see where paying for fastpass (like MaxPass) would keep the population using it down, so that’s an advantage but in reality I am paying much more than that in the current (old) system by staying on property. I don’t think FP is very useful after the early access people get their picks. We stayed off-campus our last trip and it was among the reasons it wasn’t our best trip.
Yeah, I didn’t like the UOR express that much because when we went the “express” line for some rides were almost as long as the standby line. The on-site guests had all chosen to ride the headliners, I guess. We didn’t stay on-site, so the extra money we spent seemed very, very not worth it.
FP+ rewards people who have the money to stay on site, people that plan their visit to the last minute, and people who can schedule reserving these things the first minute they become available. One of those things is “unfair.” I guess I’d be on board with a system that only required the other two.
Honestly, I don’t understand people who don’t do some research for an expensive vacation. Or at least get a TA to give you the information. My sisters are not planners. One refuses to go to DW because of it. The other sucked it up and planned her trip and got the headliners as FP’s. On our honeymoon in 2007, before FPP, we were waiting for our ADR at CRT, my DH heard people asking about getting reservation. The CM told them it was not possible and that it had been booked for 2-3 months. We had a TA for that trip and she reminded us when we needed to give her the list of restaurants we wanted, as well as the times we wanted to eat. She booked them for us. (I believe ADRs were at 60 or 90 days at that point). This planning situation is not new for DW. FPP just added another planning aspect.
Sorry that happened to you. We have been many times, often during major holidays like Thanksgiving, New Years, and Easter and have never had long express lines (except Fast & Furious, but that is because the meet up point to the main line is too early in the queue). I think you must have had an anomaly, that is not how it usually works thankfully (express lanes taking as long as standby). You might want to give it another chance.
We’re going in February and staying at Portofino, so we’ll see! Especially for King Kong and the HP stuff, it seemed like we waited a long time in the express line. Maybe we were just spoiled by the extremely short waits you get with FP+.
Portofino is my favorite of the hotels with express. Hope you love it, we will be there later this summer.
Kong joins the regular line too early. We waited 45 mins in the express pass line last trip when it was posted I think 60 mins for standby. It felt longer!
Sounds like the ones put out by FP are the people going to Country Bear Jamboree, Enchanted Tiki Room, Carousel of Progress who wish the other guests would line up for hours at Splash Mt, Pirates and Space Mt where they belong.
After all, the Standby guests at the headliners only perceive that FP users are “jumping the line” when really they would otherwise be in the Standby line ahead of them.
At super low crowd levels the wait can sometimes be the same amount of time. It depends on how well the team members add express pass users to the line and how early the lines merge. When I went in Feb of 2020 it was useless for RRR. I think we were forgotten about at Transformers given how long we waiting. But at FJ it was great.
Most of the polls are in favor of the pre-COVID Fastpass Plus system, except this one:
People seem to want less of the ride capacity to be dedicated to FPP. This would result in faster-moving standby queues (not necessarily shorter standby waits) and fewer people being able to take advantage of FPP, and/or getting fewer Fastpasses per day on average. This means either that Liners think they will outperform the average and still get those coveted Fastpasses anyway (probably true), or they are sympathetic to those in the standby line.
Personally, I think it should be around 50% because that accounts for downtime and impacts the standby queue less. All of us will probably find ourselves in a standby queue every once in a while, and it would be better to have a more tolerable experience when that happens.
Personally I think the tendency to click 50% is based on some simplistic egalitarian notion rather than thinking how it reduces the likelihood that you can obtain a FP.
Remember when you compare to MaxPass that, while MaxPass was a paid add-on, Disneyland/DCA still offered the same free paper FP system to all guests. The real bonus of MaxPass (aside from the digital convenience) was that all Photopass and ride photos were also included. But, in essence, all guests still had a level playing field to obtain FPs—some just chose to do it paperless/more conveniently.
I don’t know…I basically answered that I liked how it was (my best guesses). I’ve never been to DL. Been to UOR and got Express and liked it, but I tend to think I couldn’t afford (or, wouldn’t want to pay that much for) what Disney would charge at WDW. Overall for 3 trips we did really well with FPP and I don’t at all like the idea of it not being there. The one thing I didn’t like was that when we went on our 3rd trip the crowds were much worse and it was very hard to get any good 4th and later FPP. Our first 2 times we were masters of it.